Oatmeal cookies: baking for the soul

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After a long week of running around like headless chicken, sorting out troubles that are either not mine or created by others with the sole purpose of “entertaining” me, one of the things to which I look forward the most is having half a day to spend in my kitchen. When I cook, especially if it is only for leisure, the mind is free to wander and get a well-deserved rest.

Sometimes it needs to rest from boring repetitive work, in which case I end up baking something complex that requires lots of focus and precision; other times it has to recover from having to deal with unreasonable people, or too many things to do and too little time to do them, or feeling inadequate for whatever you have been put up to. And when that happens the kitchen is not just a place where to forget about the stress and the unpleasantness, but almost an A&E for the soul.

And in those times I need to make something quite special. Nothing too fancy as I need to be taken back down to earth, to the things that really count, in which cases baking with my daughter also does the trick; something that I cannot really mess up too much, as I need to feel I did something properly; something simple with flavours that are tried and tested, to get comforted but also to make sure I can share it with as many people as possible.

And that is why this week it’s oatmeal cookies: as comforting as it can gets, simple, tasty, something to share with the people you really care for, something that says “they were a cuddle for me to make, I hope they are a cuddle for you to eat”.

Recipe

I made two versions, starting from the basic dough and added either coconut and hazelnuts for a drier crispier cookie or orange and chocolate for a softer and more aromatic one. The recipe explain the preparation of the basic dough and in brackets are the additional ingredients.

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Basic Ingredients

Flour 400gr

Butter 250gr

Eggs 3

Brown sugar 100gr

Caster sugar 150gr

Golden syrup 100gr

Rolled oats 400gr

Baking soda 1 heaped teaspoon

Salt 1 1 levelled teaspoon

Add:

Dried grated coconut 100gr +

Toasted chopped hazelnuts 200gr

OR

The zest of 3 oranges

Dark chocolate 160 gr

Cream together butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and golden syrup. Beat in eggs one at a time.  Combine flour, baking soda, salt, (and orange zest); stir into the creamed mixture (and add the chocolate chopped into small cubes). Mix in oats (hazelnuts and coconut). Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 190 °C. Line 3 oven trays with baking paper. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place them cookie sheets not too close to one another. Flatten each cookie with a large fork.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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